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Adopted on May 21, 1999
at the Conference of Attorneys of the Republic of Lithuania [FN1]

                    CODE                  
OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS FOR ATTORNEYS

I. GENERAL PROVISIONS 

1. An attorney shall perform his professional duties in an honest and proper manner and in compliance with the requirements set forth in the Code of Professional Ethics for Attorneys. In his activities, the attorney shall be bound by his oath, the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Law on the Bar, other laws and the Statute of the Bar [FN2] of Lithuania.

2. In fulfilling their professional duties, attorneys shall be independent from state institutions, administrative bodies and officials thereof.

3. Every attorney shall have a duty to take an active part in the activities of the Bar of the Republic of Lithuania, represent clients by lawful means, defend them in courts of law, fulfil other assignments as well as not to discredit the profession and position of an attorney by personal misconduct.

4. For actions that undermine public confidence and discredit the position of an attorney that are not criminal offenses, attorneys shall be liable to disciplinary proceedings. Such actions, inter alia, shall include the following:

    1). injury to honor and dignity of an individual, degradation of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Bar of the Republic of Lithuania, state institutions and officials thereof;

    2). violation of their oath

    3). violation of requirements set forth in the Law on the Bar;

    4). failure to follow directions given by self-government institutions of the Bar, failure to attend without a valid excuse any sitting or other event arranged by the Bar's self-government institutions whereto the attorney has been invited and where his or her presence is obligatory as well as failure to notify in due time of the attorney's non-appearance;

    5). indecent, dishonest fulfillment of any professional duty as well as failure to observe and respect generally accepted moral and customary rules;

    6). dishonorable behavior in public places or towards other people;

    7). unfair competition with other attorneys (self-advertisement, search of clients through intermediaries, degradation of other attorneys' work as well as special or exceptional self-praise, etc. Criteria to define self-advertisement of attorneys shall be established by the Bar Council of Lithuania);

    8).
    disclosure of information supplied to the attorney with regard to the attorney's assignment without the consent of the person who provided it; 

    9). fulfillment of duties in an intoxicated state;

    10). use of narcotic substances;

    11). refusal to make obligatory payments to support the Bar Council of Lithuania or systematic failure to make such payments for a period exceeding three consecutive months;

    12).  untidy appearance during office hours and failure to wear the gown during court proceedings;

    13). failure to duly notify institutions wherein the attorney performs a client's assignment of the attorney's inability to arrive at the appointed time as well as deliberate actions to delay judicial proceedings;

    14). failure to duly notify institutions wherein the attorney performed an assignment of the attorney's lawful termination;

    15). violation of the ban to engage in any activity inconsistent with the attorney's profession.

    II.  RELATIONS AMONG ATTORNEYS

5. Relations among attorneys are based on confidence, honesty, friendliness, tact and politeness. Attorneys shall assist each other in their professional activity unless it interferes with the interests of a client.

6. If an attorney intends to accept an assignment to represent a client and defend him and the same assignment is performed by another attorney, he or she shall notify the other attorney thereof.

7. If a client requests an attorney to be represented and defended jointly with another attorney, the matter shall be coordinated with the other attorney. In case the latter refuses to jointly represent and defend the client or in case positions in defense and representation differ, both attorneys shall notify and elucidate the client there abof; the client shall have the right to choose the position in defense and the attorney and terminate all arrangements with the other attorney.

8. If the attorney accepts an assignment to represent the interests of a client in a case against another attorney, the attorney shall notify the Bar Council of Lithuania and his or her fellow attorney thereof and propose, provided it does not adversely effect the client's interests, to settle the dispute out of court. If the dispute is not settled out of court, it shall not strain relations between the attorneys.

9. When representing, defending or fulfilling another assignment related to judicial proceedings, the attorney may converse with the opposite party on issues concerning the assignment but only after notifying, where possible, the attorney of the other party, if any.

10. Attorneys representing the parties shall present the court with any written evidence they have prepared in a manner that will provide the attorney of the other party with a possibility to state his opinion to the court regarding such evidence. 

11. If the attorney is unable to attend a court sitting or intends to ask the court to change or appoint a time for the court sitting, the attorney shall immediately notify his fellow colleague thereof and coordinate with the attorney the time which acceptable to both for hearing the case. 

12. The attorney shall not pay any fee, commission or other remuneration to anybody for having been recommended or assigned a client. 

13. If an attorney believes that his fellow colleague has violated the Code of Professional Ethics for Attorneys, the attorney shall draw the colleague's attention thereto. 

14. Any dispute between the attorneys shall be first settled, as far as possible, by mutual agreement.
 

15. An attorney shall not start any judicial process against a fellow colleague prior to notifying the Bar Council of Lithuania and until the Bar's self-government institutions mediate to settle the dispute.

III. RELATIONS OF THE ATTORNEY WITH CLIENTS

16. An attorney may accept the assignment to defend or represent the interests of a client only upon the request of the client or the client's legal representative. Assignments to defend or represent a client may be accepted from other persons only in case they are authorized to do so by the client or with the latter's consent. 

17. An attorney shall not accept a case if:

    1). the attorney and the official who conducted preliminary investigation or examined the case are related by kinship or marriage;

    2). the attorney participated in the case previously as an interrogator, investigator, procurator, public prosecutor, judge, secretary of a court sitting, victim, witness, expert, civil plaintiff or defendant;

    3). the attorney is to defend two accused persons (defendants) where there is a conflict of defense interests or the attorney has defended a person in the same case whose interests are in conflict with those of the applicant;

    4). the attorney is closely related by kinship or marriage to the attorney providing legal assistance in the same case to a person whose interests are in conflict with those of the applicant;

    5). the attorney has participated in the case as a public counsel for defense[FN3] and the interests of the applicant are in conflict with those of the person he defended;

    6). the attorney is aware of such circumstances of the case that have been entrusted to him by the other accused (defendant) or the opposing party;

    7). the accused (defendant) requests to maintain a position in defense that obviously contradicts the circumstances of the case;

    8).  the client requires to knowingly use false or illegal evidence (forged documents, false testimony) and other dishonest means to defend his interests;

    9). the attorney is aware that the interrogator, investigator or the court will call him to testify in that case;

    10). relations between the attorney and the person whose case the attorney is to plead are strained;

    11). the case is filed against the attorney's relatives of vertical, horizontal or side lineage or against the attorney's close friends;

    12). the case is complex and the attorney realizes that he or she will not be able to perform the assignment properly;

    13). the attorney knows in advance that he or she will be busy on a given day due to a previously accepted assignment.

18. An attorney shall use all means and measures of defense prescribed by the law to determine the circumstances that would justify the suspect, the accused or the defendant or mitigate the client's responsibility, and provide him or her with necessary legal assistance. In representing the client, the attorney shall seek to achieve a favorable result for the client by all legal means and measures. 

19. An attorney may not defend the interests of a client that would compel him to use unlawful measures and means of defense, and he must reject any requirement by the client if it does not conform to the Law on the Bar, other laws of the Republic of Lithuania, regulations a abccompanying such law, as well as administrative rules which were lawfully made and which are lawfully in force. 

20. After consenting to defend the suspect, the accused or the defendant [FN4], an attorney shall have no right to withdraw from the assignment. 

21. In case of unlawful requirements, the attorney shall explain to the client that the latter may either: abandon the unlawful requirements or terminate the agreement for defense or representation [FN5].

22. An attorney shall explain to the client that the attorney shall seek a court judgement or decision as favorable for the client as possible by all legal means and measures though the attorney cannot guarantee a favorable outcome of the case.

23. Although the counsel for defense is an independent participant in criminal proceedings, the attorney will not maintain any position in defense without informing the defendant thereof. The attorney shall confer with the defendant and take account of the client's considerations and arguments. 

24. If the defendant pleads guilty and the attorney, having assessed all the evidence available in the case, comes to the same conclusion with regard to the defendant, the attorney for the defense shall analyze in the attorney's oral statement any circumstances that may mitigate the defendant's responsibility. 

25. In case the defendant pleads guilty and the attorney, having examined all the evidence available in the case, decides that the guilt of the defendant has not been proved or that it is questionable, the counsel for defense shall maintain an independent position irrespective of the defendant. 

26. In case the defendant pleads not guilty and the attorney, having familiarized himself or herself with the case, decides that the evidence is sufficient to prove the guilt of the defendant, the attorney should not persuade the defendant to plead guilty. It is the court that determines the defendant's guilt or innocence, not the counsel for defense. The attorney may decide on another position in defense, but he or she shall confer about it with the defendant. If the defendant does not agree with the position in defense chosen by the attorney, the client may discharge the said counsel for defense. 

27. In group cases where there is a conflict of defense interests, the attorney shall choose and analyze in his or her pleadings only the evidence that denies the guilt of the defendant and raises doubts about his or her guilt or such circumstances that mitigate the defendant's responsibility.

   V. RELATIONS BETWEEN THE ATTORNEY AND         SELF-GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS OF THE BAR

28. The following shall be deemed self-government institutions of the Bar of Lithuania: general meeting (conference) of the attorneys of the Republic of Lithuania, the Bar Council of Lithuania, the Court of Honor for Attorneys, and other self-government institutions established by the resolution of the general meeting (conference) of attorneys of the Republic of Lithuania or the Bar Council of Lithuania. 

29. Relations between the attorney and self-government institutions of the Bar shall be grounded on mutual respect, goodwill and active assistance. 

30. An attorney elected to self-government institutions of the Bar shall take an active part in its work, attend all sittings and meetings and in case of non-appearance for valid reasons he or she shall notify in due time thereof; if an attorney no longer performs his or her professional duties for this or that reason, the attorney shall suspend his or her authorizations in the said institution. 

31. An attorney shall carry out with due accuracy and responsibility any resolution (decision) adopted by the Bar's self-government institutions; he or she shall arrive when requested to the aforementioned institutions at the appointed time and cooperate with them. In case the attorney is unable to do so, the attorney shall immediately notify thereof and validate his non-appearance. 

32. If an attorney is approached by self-government institutions of the Bar with an inquiry, he or she shall reply within a given period and in the required form. 

33. Failure to pay membership fees established by the Bar shall be deemed a serious violation of professional ethics.

V. FINAL PROVISIONS 

34. The provisions of the Code of Profession abal Ethics for Attorneys shall be also applied to assistant attorneys. 

35. In case an attorney's professional conduct is not regulated by laws, the Statute of the Bar of Lithuania or the present Code, he or she shall observe the accepted practice of law which complies with general ethical and moral principles.

FOOTNOTES

1.  This English translation is offered by the courtesy of The Lithuanian American Bar Association, Inc. and Dean Tadas Klimas of the Vytautas Magnus University Law School, April 2, 2000.

2.  "advokaturos" is translated as "the Bar" throughout, although there are other bar-type organizations.

3.   This has reference to provisions allowing a non-attorney to represent an accused in the public interest.

4.   Under Lithuanian law, a person is accused when formal criminal charges have been brought. A person is a defendant when he is being tried.

5.  Comment by Tadas Klimas: From the language of the original, it appears clear that this section means as follows: in the case of illegal claims/requirements made by the client, it not being clear whether the illegal claims are being asked of the attorney or as against the other party, the attorney shall explain to the client that the client must either abandon the illegal claim or that the client must terminate the agreement. The language of this section does not give the attorney the right to terminate the agreement.

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